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Letters & Editorials

Carriage Horses Deserve Better Treatment From New York City

September 21, 1988

To the Editor:

As executive director of Bide-a-Wee Home Association, I am concerned and
outraged that each summer New York City carriage horses pass out and even
die from heat prostration. Whitey, the heat-stricken carriage horse who
slumped to the pavement on Second Avenue (news story, Aug. 15), is the
most recent example.

Horses, like humans, are susceptible to heat and humidity. The law
requires that all carriage horses must be off the street when the
temperature reaches 90 degrees. The day Whitey collapsed, the National
Weather Service announced it had reached 90 degrees by noon. Luckily,
Whitey recovered after lying in the street for about 90 minutes.

It's not enough for a law to be on the books; more has to be done to see
that it is enforced. Mayor Koch needs to take more responsibility to see
that the horses in New York City are not exploited by the carriage owners
and drivers. Catering to the tourist trade is fine, but no tourist or
resident wants to see an overworked horse straining to pull a heavy
carriage on a sweltering day!

City Councilman Robert Dryfoos is working on a new law to protect these
animals, including keeping them in Central Park only; requiring frequent rest
periods for watering, and shelters for protection against heat and cold.

Bide-a-Wee supports this legislation and hopes Whitey's suffering was not in vain.

New York, Sept. 4, 1988

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